Creative Constructor
Lab Virtual
Leadership Exchange
at ISTELive 21
Edtech Advocacy &
Policy Summit

The Role of Makerspaces in Language Acquisition for English Language Learners

Participate and share

Participate and share : Poster

Tuesday, June 25, 4:00–6:00 pm
Location: Posters: Level 4, Terrace Ballroom Lobby, Table 49

Johanna Amaro   Dr. Charlene Mason  
Find out how to provide digital equity for English language learners through meaningful creative experiences in a maker environment. We'll share how to use the design-thinking process in English as a second language (ESL) classrooms and school libraries.

Audience: Teachers, Professional developers, Library media specialists
Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices useful
Attendee device specification: Smartphone: Windows, Android, iOS
Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Tablet: Android, iOS, Windows
Focus: Digital age teaching & learning
Topic: Maker activities and programs
Grade level: PK-12
Subject area: STEM/STEAM, ESL
ISTE Standards: For Students:
Creative Communicator
  • Students create original works or responsibly repurpose or remix digital resources into new creations.
Innovative Designer
  • Students know and use a deliberate design process for generating ideas, testing theories, creating innovative artifacts or solving authentic problems.
For Educators:
  • Design authentic learning activities that align with content area standards and use digital tools and resources to maximize active, deep learning.

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

The purpose of this workshop is to present opportunities for educators to provide digital equity for English language leaners through meaningful creative experiences in a maker environment. Participants will be guided in using the Design Thinking Process in English as a second language (ESL) classrooms and school libraries.
The workshop will address creating a Makerspace on a limited budget and with basic knowledge of technology. The Design Thinking Process will be explained as it relates to maker activities. Participants will walk away with at least one lesson plan created for ELL students.


1. Welcome and Introductions- 10 mins
2. Technology and CODING vs. Making- 5 mins
3. Presentation of one Maker Lesson employing differentiated instruction in an ESL classroom- 15 mins
4. Summary of supporting research to date- 10 mins
5. Resources- 10 mins
6. Hands-on activities- 40 mins

Supporting research

Blakemore, M. (2018). Problem scoping: Design thinking & close reading makerspaces in the school library. Knowledge Quest, 46(4), 66-69.

Glaatthorn, A.A., Jailall, J. M., & Jailall, J. K. (2017). The principal as curriculum leader: Shaping what is taught and tested, fourth edition. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin, A Sage Publishing Company.

Fontichiaro, K. (2017). Visual documentation in makerspaces. Teacher Librarian, 45(2), 51-53.

Fontichiaro, K. (2018). Written documentation in makerspaces. Teacher Librarian, 45(3), 59-61.

Khalifa, M. A., Gooden, M. A., & Davis, J. E. (2016). Culturally responsive school leadership: A synthesis of the literature. Review of Educational Research, Vol. XX, No. X, pp. 1-40.

Kurti, R. S., Kurti, D. L., & Fleming, L. (2014). The philosophy of educational makerspaces. Teacher Librarian, 41(5), 8-11.

Murphy, P. H. (2018). School libraries addressing the needs of ell students: Enhancing language acquisition, confidence, and cultural fluency in ell students by developing a targeted collection and enriching your makerspace. Knowledge Quest, 46(4), 60-65.

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Johanna Amaro, Plainfield Public Schools

Dr. Johanna Amaro currently serves as an English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher for a central New Jersey high school. She has taught ESL and Spanish for ten years in New Jersey Public Schools. Her responsibilities include technology integration while teaching English and college readiness to students for whom English is not their first language. Her primary research focus is on language acquisition utilizing the Universal Design Learning (UDL) framework and model. She is the co-author of a chapter in the Handbook of Research on Virtual Training and Mentoring of Online Instructors.

Dr. Charlene Mason, Wayne Public Schools

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